In a tense exchange with Megyn Kelly on her new podcast, billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban condemned human rights violations across the world but refused to specifically condemn human rights violations against the Uyghur minority group in China.
On “The Megyn Kelly Show,” Kelly pressed Cuban on why the National Basketball Association would be willing to take $500 million from a country involved in an ongoing ethnic cleansing.
“So basically, you’re saying that nobody should do business with China ever?” Cuban asked.
“Why would the NBA do that?” Kelly asked again, referring to the NBA’s profitable business with China.
“They are a customer. They are a customer of ours. And guess what, Megyn? I’m okay with doing business with China,” Cuban said. “You know, I wish I could solve all the world’s problems, Megyn. I’m sure you do too. But we can’t. And so we have to pick our battles. And while you’d like to get proclamations so you can create a clip that says, ‘Look what I got Mark to say,’ you don’t want to deal with the actual action item.”
Cuban said he condemns all human rights violations, but when Kelly pressed him to specifically condemn China, he pointed to his work with the State Department in trying to expand visas for asylum-seekers in the United States from China and all over the world.
Kelly recounted for listeners the backlash the NBA face after Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted his support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. China also responded by refusing to broadcast any NBA games and canceling games scheduled to be played in China. Last week, China began airing the NBA finals games, the first games broadcast in over a year, citing “good will continuously expressed by the NBA.”
Kelly also asked Cuban about the NBA’s Black Lives Matter messaging and whether the league’s foray into politics is partially to blame for this season’s dismal ratings. Cuban said he doesn’t believe the poor viewership numbers “has anything to do with politics” and instead blamed the younger demographic who doesn’t have satellite or cable, rendering them unable to watch the regular season and playoff games.
Kelly pointed to other sports, such as football and baseball, which have not experienced the same drop in ratings.
“I’m not making excuses, it’s lower than I wanted them to be,” Cuban said. “But at the same time, the rest of the playoffs we did really well. I’m telling you the whole thing about politics is nonsense.”
Earlier in the podcast, when Kelly asked Cuban about the NBA’s decision to promote Black Lives Matter on its courts and players’ jerseys, Cuban began debating what it means to support “Black Lives Matter” as an organization. Cuban said the NBA is not supporting defunding the police nor the Marxist beliefs of the BLM founders, but simply the “movement.”
“It’s really a distributed movement across the country to try to end racism, to bring awareness to social justice issues. And I’ve done this right. Talk to people that are at Black Lives Matter rallies, and ask them who the three founders are. They don’t have any idea. And if we were supportive of those three founders, don’t you think we would have had one of them on an NBA broadcast?” Cuban said.
“The main takeaway on BLM, the main push, this is what they say is their single issue, their biggest issue is, whenever you see a representative from the group, and organizer, people who go to the protests, it’s one thing: Defund the police,” Kelly said.
“No, that’s crazy,” Cuban insisted.